Piling on the pounds could add £££s to your premiums

Article date: 9 March 2007

  • Norwich Union issues life insurance warning ahead of ObesityAwareness Week

As the UK’s obesity problem continues tosoar, Norwich Union is warning of the financial impact of thegrowing epidemic.

Ahead of Obesity Awareness Week (11-17 March 2007), the UK’slargest insurer advises that piling on the pounds is likely to bulkup life insurance premiums, with a clinically obese person facingpaying nearly twice as much for their cover as a person of "normal"weight.(1)

For example, when assuring a sum of £200,000 for a 15 year term, atypical 35 year old, 5’10" non-smoking male weighing 12stones can expect to pay significantly less than his heavieralter-egos (see table below). A non-smoking male of the same ageand height weighing 18 stones can expect to add nearly 30% to theirpremium. And if the same hypothetical person allows their weight tocreep up to 20 stones, their life insurance payments could increaseby around 75%.

The same is true for women. A 35 year old, 5’5" non-smokingfemale weighing in at 15 stones faces a premium 25% higher than hernine-stone counterpart. The rise jumps to 70% when comparing the"same" woman at 17 stones.(2)

With Norwich Union these people can expect to pay the followingpremiums for a 15 year level term on an assured sum of£200,000:

Gender

Age

Smoker?

Height

Weight

Monthly premium

Male

35

Non-smoking

5’ 10”

12 stones

£14.40

Male

35

Non-smoking

5’ 10”

18 stones

£18.40

Male

35

Non-smoking

5’ 10”

20 stones

£25.20

Female

35

Non-smoking

5’ 5”

9 stones

£12.00

Female

35

Non-smoking

5’ 5”

15 stones

£15.00

Female

35

Non-smoking

5’ 5”

17 stones

£20.40


NB. Premiums stated do not include any options such as criticalillness cover. Further options can be added at an additional costto the premium. The actual cost of a policy will depend on thelevel and period of cover chosen and the individual’spersonal circumstances. A pay out would be made if the policyholderdied during the policy term. The policy has no cash value at anytime.

Additional premiums are imposed when a person has a BMI (BodyMass Index) of above 30(3). The average BMI for a personof "normal" weight is between 18.5 and 25.

Tony Jupp, chief underwriter at Norwich Union, says: "Obesitydramatically increases the likelihood of a number of chronicmedical conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease,and diabetes. It can also put a tremendous strain on weight bearingjoints especially the hips and knees, leading to a number ofmobility problems.

"In addition, many overweight people are extremely sensitive as tohow they are perceived by others and these concerns can often leadto periods of anxiety and even depression. The cost of lifeinsurance cover has to reflect these additional risks."

Obesity statistics:

  • Obesity is responsible for more than 9,000 deaths in Englandevery year.(4)
  • The Health Select Committee has estimated that the costs ofobesity is £3.3-£3.7 billion per year and of obesity plusoverweight at £6.6-£7.4 Billion.(4)
  • One in four children in England is currentlyobese.(5)
  • Between 1995 and 2004 obesity among boys aged 11-15 rose from14% to 24% and girls from 15% to 26%.(5)
  • During the same period adult obesity rose from 13% to 24% formen and 16% to 24% for women.(5)

Norwich Union offers a range of life insuranceproducts from as little as 17 pence per day. To find out more call0800 404 6459 or visit www.norwichunion.com.

-ends-

Press office contacts:
Sarah Horner 01904 452828 Outof hours 07800 691569

Notes to editors:

(1) A person of normal weight is categorisedas having a BMI of between 18.5 and 25.

(2) Premiums quoted are based only on height and weightand do not take into account whether or not applicant may have anyother medical problems attributable to obesity or otherwise.

(3) Extra premiums are added routinely when aclient’s BMI is 30 or above. The World Health Organisationclassifies BMI into the following categories:

Underweight BMI <18.5
Normal BMI 18.5-24.9
Overweight BMI 25-29.9
Obesity 1 BMI 30-34.9
Obesity 2 BMI 35-39.9
Morbid obesity BMI 40>

(4) Source: Department of Health

(5) Health and Social Care Information Centre survey,April 2006.

About Norwich Union
Norwich Union is the UK’slargest insurer. It is a leading provider of life, pensions andinvestment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA)providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savingsbusiness in the UK.

Norwich Union is the UK’s largest general insurer with amarket share of around 14%, with a focus on insurance forindividuals and small businesses.

Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection of images areavailable from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.

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